External view of Hexham General Hospital

Hexham Urgent Care Centre

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has announced that Hexham urgent care centre will be closed overnight, between 10pm and 8pm, as of today. People needing medical advice or care between these times should ring NHS 111 to be referred to the most appropriate service. If it is an emergency, people should contact 999.

The urgent care centre will continue to operate as normal – as a walk-in service – between 8am and 10pm.

The trust says:

In July, the trust suspended overnight provision due to staffing pressures among its highly-trained specialist nursing team which deliver the urgent care service. The service did reopen earlier this month however the trust has continued to face severe workforce challenges which now prevent the service from being operational overnight.

Marion Dickson, chief operating officer for surgery, clinical support and child health at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We would like to reassure the public that over the last three weeks we have done everything we can to run a safe and consistent urgent care service at Hexham overnight.

“Time and time again our staff have gone above and beyond to help us do this, and overcome the severe staffing pressures we face, and we would like to thank them all for their efforts. Despite our best efforts, it has now come to the stage where we have exhausted all possibilities and must, reluctantly, make this difficult decision.

“We fully understand that the local community will be disappointed – even angry –however, we must not, and will not, compromise on patient safety. We pride ourselves in providing the highest standards of care to our patients and running a safe service overnight is, at present, not an option.

“Our priority must always be to run services where there is most demand from patients and we simply do not have the staff to operate a service overnight while keeping it going during the day to cater for the thousands of people who attend between 8am and 10pm.

“We would like to apologise to the public for any inconvenience and the recent inconsistency in our service and would urge people to make use of NHS 111 should they need urgent medical advice overnight.”

The trust is discussing the options for this service moving forward with NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group and will update the public as soon as it is in a position to do so.

Wansbeck General Hospital

Temporary overnight changes at Wansbeck Urgent Care Centre announced

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has today announced the temporary decision to suspend Wansbeck Urgent Care Centre between the hours of 10.00pm and 8.00am in response to winter pressures.

The trust says the measure – part of winter resilience planning across the Emergency Care Services – will release an additional 56 hours of nursing time for the emergency department per week. Some of the nursing team already rotate to The Northumbria as part of their on-going training and education so will be able to make a positive impact immediately. It says in light of relatively low numbers attending overnight, it’s working with its urgent care nursing staff to ensure their skills can be put to best use to meet demand across the trust.

“It’s not a decision we take lightly,” said Dr Jeremy Rushmer, Executive Medical Director at the trust “But the sheer number of people attending the emergency department, including many elderly and/or frail patients who are complex to assess and are in need of significant support to resolve their problems, means that we have to activate contingency plans in order to cope.

“As members of the public may be aware we broke records in terms of the number of people attending more than once last week and there are no signs of pressure letting up, once the cold snap is over. The additional staff will play a vital role in ensuring we continue to have the right skills, in the right place, at the right time; so we can continue to provide the very best care for those most in need.”

While this temporary measure is in effect any members of the public who are not in immediate need of critical of life-saving care should contact NHS 111 to seek advice 24 hours a day. Northern Doctors Urgent Care – contactable via 111 – will continue to use the centre as one of their (3) bases should an urgent GP appointment be needed overnight.


Waiting room seating

Urgent Care Centres in Northumberland

Following the extension to temporary overnight closures at urgent care centres at Hexham and Wansbeck General Hospitals, we are keen to find out more about people’s understanding and usage of their local urgent care centre.

Please give us your feedback so that we can better understand where people are likely to go for particular health issues and share this information with the service providers.

To leave your views please click here

Find out more about emergency and urgent care services

Please note: This survey is now closed.

Hexham General Hospital

Overnight urgent care closures to continue

Temporary measures to close the urgent care centres overnight at Hexham, Wansbeck and North Tyneside hospitals are set to continue for at least another three months.

The measures, which have seen the centres closed between midnight and 8.00am since December last year, are deemed necessary by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust so that the skills of nursing staff are used where they are most needed overnight. Night time emergencies have been diverted to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Hospital in Cramlington.

In an announcement on 22nd June, the trust stated that since the temporary measure was implemented there has been no detrimental impact on patient care and no significant change in the number of people accessing services overnight at the emergency care hospital.

The trust has stressed that the move is a temporary decision and says it will continue to work with NHS Northumberland and North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Groups on future arrangements.

For more information on emergency and urgent care services please see our Find Services page or visit Northumbria NHS Healthcare Foundation Trust website.